Surface Functionalisation Engineer

Accountable to: Research and Product Manager

Responsible for: Funcionalisation of solid surfaces with quaternary ammonium compounds

Terms: 6 month fixed term contract (with possible extension), full-time

Working place: Guildford, Surrey.

Annual Salary: £22,000 – £28,000 pro rata, depending on experience

Starting date: ASAP

Closing date for applications: 18th September 2020

Interviews: 21st September 2020

If you would like to apply, please send us a Cover Letter and CV to

Overview of the Role

Over the last 18 months, Smart Separations has been working with an antimicrobial coating (ViraTeq) based on a quaternary ammonium compound anchored to oxide nanoparticles to coat our ceramic filters for air purification purposes.  The recent pandemic has highlighted the huge potential of this coating for a wide variation of applications and in response to this we have created Gino, a personal air sanitiser based on ceramic porous structures coated with ViraTeq. Tests performed in external labs have confirmed ViraTeq is highly effective against enveloped viruses, the same type as the corona virus. See for an introductory video to our technology.

Ideally you are a Graduate or Post Graduate scientist or engineer in Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related field, who have completed your degree within the last 3 years or who are on a career break and would like to return to work. This 6-month position is aiming at increasing our understanding of the coating and its application to other surfaces: metallic, polymeric, textile fibres and other ceramics. We are looking to exploit all the potential of the antimicrobial coating and develop a new range of products. Our coating is fast-acting, has a non-leaching mechanism and does not create resistance in bacteria and viruses.

We are looking to understand the chemical interaction between our coating and solid surfaces. This will allow us to engineer performance, determine levels of dosage, identify degradation mechanism, determine minimum inhibitory concentrations and other challenges associated with the coating procedure of metal, ceramic, fibres and polymeric surfaces. 

Job description

Specifically, this is a lab-based internship and the project is aiming at applying our unique antimicrobial coating to a variety of surfaces.  There are three main objectives that we expect the intern to achieve: 

  • Identification of the key parameters for surface activation: acid/base, plasma/corona discharge, temperature, chemical etch, binder addition, etc.
  • Determination of the optimal conditions of coating for polymers, metals, fibres or ceramics: temperature, concentration, time, etc.
  • Analysis of the coated surfaces: effectiveness (with microbiological team), degradation mechanisms: wear, chemical incompatibility, high temperatures, etc.  
  • Elaboration of a simple hypothesis of the molecular interaction of ViraTeq with all surfaces studied to explain all features found.

The ideal applicant:

  • Graduate or Post Graduate scientist or engineer in the appropriate discipline (Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related field) who have completed their degree within the last 3 years or on a career break and would like to return to work
  • Excellent research and analytical skills and able to conduct research responsibly
  • Attention to detail, laboratory dexterity and excellent numerical skills and processing and analysis of data
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Optimistic can-do attitude and resilience and perseverance
  • Excellent communication skills (written, verbal, formal presentation) and ability to take feedback
  • Commercial acumen and business development fine intuition
  • Ability to work under strict deadlines

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